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Why WeForest

Our Vision

Our vision is a world where communities and nations sustainably manage forest landscapes and natural resources to address climate change, enhance livelihoods, increase resilience and safeguard biodiversity.

Our Mission

We advance innovative, scalable and lasting solutions to restore forest landscapes for climate, people and planet.

Our Goal

Forest restoration best practices, tools and supportive policies are being effectively used to deliver globally agreed targets.

Trees are the best known ‘technology’ to cool our planet:
they absorb the excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 50% of a tree’s biomass is actually carbon! Forests also make clouds by releasing water vapour and microscopic nuclei in the atmosphere, which through a high albedo effect, reflect the solar radiation back into space having a global cooling effect.

Why it matters

We plant trees and bring back forests in order to Make Earth Cooler.
Our mission is to scale-up, monitor and report on the impact of forest and landscape restoration, contributing to the realisation of the NYDF (New York Declaration on Forests), in order to limit global warming to 2 °C temperature increase.

Explore our approach

Our team

Our team of 20 professionals is spread over 3 continents and 12 countries sharing the same commitment for a better world.

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    Marie-Noëlle Keijzer
    MBA, MSc Environmental Science
    Co-founder, vice-president of the board and CEO
    Marie Noëlle provides strategic guidance to the organization. As a multilingual social entrepreneur with 22 years of experience in senior corporate leadership in Supply Chain, CSR and business transformation, she offers expertise in business development, strategy, marketing, communication, advocacy and public speaking. She holds a Master's degree in Environmental Science from the ULB, Belgium, a Master's degree in Business Administration from IADE, Spain and is a member of Al Gore's Climate reality Corps.
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    Katrien Delaet
    MSc Applied Biosciences, MSc Engineering and Agricultural Economics
    Chief Operations Officer (COO)
    Katrien is developing and managing the entire portfolio of the WeForest landscape restoration activities; the foresters working in our planting sites are also reporting to her. Katrien brings 8 years of experience in CSR, agro-forestry, soft-commodities and supply chain management. She holds an Master's degree in Agricultural Economics from the university of Ghent, Belgium and in Applied Biosciences & Engineering (Land & Forest Management ) from the Catholic University Leuven, Belgium.
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    Aklilu Negussie Mekuria
    PhD Bioscience Engineering, MSc Tropical Land Resources Management, BSc Dryland Agriculture & Natural Resources Management
    Project Manager Ethiopia

    Aklilu manages the various planting projects that WeForest is developing in Ethiopia. With a PhD in Bioscience Engineering from the University of Leuven (Belgium), a Master's degree in Tropical Land Resources Management and a Bachelor's degree in Dryland Agriculture & Natural Resources Management from Mekelle University (Ethiopia), Aklilu is highly qualified to cover all aspects of the complex development for the WeForest holistic and qualitative landscape restoration projects in Ethiopia. Prior to joining WeForest, Aklilu conducted research in Africa and Europe for 12 years in forest ecology, management science, ecosystem safety, invasive plant, agronomy, plant propagation, bioenergy-biofuel, forest entomology, and non-timber forest products and worked for two years as a Consultant at World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)

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    Matthias De Beenhouwer
    PhD Forest Ecology, MSc
    Project Manager
    Matthias is coordinating specific projects. He coaches the local teams and makes sure that the forest restoration projects are performed according to the foreseen activity plan. Matthias holds a PhD in Forest Ecology from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. He has 5 years of experience working on agroforestry, forest ecology and conservation and has worked in several countries in Eastern and Southern Africa.
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    Victoria Gutierrez
    PhD Primate Behavioural Ecology
    Chief Science Officer

    Victoria currently oversees the NGO’s research programme and she advises and assists on the technical aspects of the forest restoration projects. She has a strong background in ecology and social sciences. Previously she was a senior lecturer in Psychology at the University of West London. She holds a PhD in primate behavioural ecology from the University Complutense of Madrid.

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    Anna Roesinger
    MA Political Science and Public Law
    Director German Region and Project Manager

    Anna has a dual role, developing partnerships in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Asia and managing specific planting projects. Based in Berlin, Anna has a background in environmental policy, in the carbon markets and worked in project development for forestry and carbon projects in Southeast Asia. She holds a Master's degree in Political Science and Public Law from Heidelberg University and is trained in forest management.

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    Dan Sokell
    MA International Relations
    Director of UK Partnerships

    Dan’s background is in consulting and he has expertise in sustainability topics including natural capital, climate change, water and resource scarcity, deforestation & forest-risk commodities, mandatory reporting, corporate disclosure, sustainable supply chains, sustainable agriculture, soft commodities, sustainable stock exchanges. He holds a Master's degree in International Relations from the University of Sussex, UK.

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    Tim Clarke
    Strategic Advisor
    Tim works at WeForest on strategic and policy issues. He retired recently after working for over three decades on a wide variety of positions for European Institutions, including as EU Ambassador/Head of Delegation in Africa for eight of these years. An ecologist by training, he has a particular interest and expertise in governance, community-led development, the fight against injustice and inequality, climate change and the environment, food security, intercultural dialogue, and eco-innovation and eco-development.
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    Pascaline Haedrich
    MSc Commercial Science
    Sales Support Manager

    Pascaline provides partners with advice, content and material for a powerful communication around the impact of ‘their’ trees. Prior to joining WeForest she worked for 10 years in multinational environments and 5 years with sustainability topics and developed her own social enterprise. She graduated in Business, Marketing & Applied Foreign languages in France and in Commercial Sciences in Belgium.

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    Hannah Kirkland
    MSc Conservation Biology, BSc Natural Sciences: Biology & Anthropology
    Communications and Research Officer

    Hannah brings a great combination of writing and research skills to support our entire team in researching, reporting and communicating about our environmental and socio-economic impact on the ground. She holds a Master's degree in Conservation Biology from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, Kent University, UK. Her thesis was: Game species survival in an agricultural landscape: the case of the Kukama-Kukamilla of the Peruvian Amazon. 

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    Margot Brughmans
    BA Accounting
    Administration Manager

    Margot manages the day to day finances and human resources. She has over 20 years as Administration, Accounting and HR Manager in a multinational company. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Belgium.

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    Philip Greffin
    MA General Management
    Director Business Development France

    Philip holds a Master's degree in General Management (ESSEC, France) and has 14 years of business experience as a Managing Director for an international company.

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    Molly Reams Thompson
    Director WeForest Inc, USA

    Creator, mentor and community catalyst, Molly founded multiple companies, worked with early stage companies to help set strategic direction and has completely rebuilt two non-profit programs from the ground up. She thrives when connecting people, ideas and resources. Before jumping into the startup game, she spent 15+ years in strategic marketing and sales. Molly is actively engaged in making communities socially, environmentally and economically sustainable, focusing in the areas of entrepreneurship, the arts and local food.

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    Carolina Giudice Badari
    BSc Agroecology
    Postgraduate Researcher

    Carolina Giudice Badari obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Agroecology at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar). She took part in an extension project linked to the development of agro-ecological processes in family farming in the State of São Paulo. As part of her undergraduate studies she collected and systematized information on forestry species native to the Mata Atlantica and did one year exchange at the University of Bologna, Italy, on the “Development and Management of forest and agriculture ecosystems”. She is currently enrolled in a Master’s Program at the Forestry Department of the University of São Paulo.

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    Loren Belei
    BSc Environmental Management
    Postgraduate Researcher

    Loren has a degree in environmental management from the University of São Paulo in Brazil, where she investigated the motivational aspects of social participation in ecological restoration projects. Before joining our team, she worked as a trainee in the environmental licensing of electrical companies. Loren’s passion for ecological restoration stems from her belief that we must contribute to the changes we expect to see in the world. Loren is particularly interested in the drivers of social participation and how it regulates the viability and quality of project implementation. 

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    Lenke Slegers
    Administration volunteer
    Lenke brings her 15 years of experience in administration to manage our individual donor accounts. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Belgium. She lives in Uganda.
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    Marie-Noëlle Keijzer
    MBA, MSc Environmental Science
    Co-founder, vice-president of the board and CEO
    Marie Noëlle provides strategic guidance to the organization. As a multilingual social entrepreneur with 22 years of experience in senior corporate leadership in Supply Chain, CSR and business transformation, she offers expertise in business development, strategy, marketing, communication, advocacy and public speaking. She holds a Master's degree in Environmental Science from the ULB, Belgium, a Master's degree in Business Administration from IADE, Spain and is a member of Al Gore's Climate reality Corps.
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    Bill Liao
    Co-founder and Chairman of the board
    Bill is a social networking pioneer, author, speaker, engaged in not for profit work. Among his non-profit endeavours he is a CoderDojo mentor and he has participated as an investor and volunteer in The Hunger Project. He has also been appointed as a special diplomatic envoy for St Kitts and Nevis for sustainable development and the environment, role which was at the source of the WeForest movement.
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    Dmitri Leonov
    Board Member WeForest Inc, USA

    Cofounder at SaneBox, a leading email productivity app. Prior to Sanebox, Dmitri founded Wanto (a social networking app for people with common goals) and spent several years at Overture (acquired by Yahoo). While at Yahoo, he was responsible for launching Yahoo's Global Search Reseller Channel, and led business development efforts in Emerging Markets.

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    James Haft
    Chairman WeForest Inc, USA

    Entrepreneur and Merchant Banker with broad experience in all aspects of forming, managing, advising, fund raising, and biz dev for entrepreneur-powered businesses, including, business strategy and M&A. Significant and relevant experience with Internet apps and platforms, integrated media, on-line advertising, on-line metrics, mobile apps, telecom, energy, emerging markets, financial consulting, real estate and venture capital.

     

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    Molly Reams Thompson
    Director WeForest Inc, USA

    Creator, mentor and community catalyst, Molly founded multiple companies, worked with early stage companies to help set strategic direction and has completely rebuilt two non-profit programs from the ground up. She thrives when connecting people, ideas and resources. Before jumping into the startup game, she spent 15+ years in strategic marketing and sales. Molly is actively engaged in making communities socially, environmentally and economically sustainable, focusing in the areas of entrepreneurship, the arts and local food.

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    Tom de Fauw
    Treasurer, Corporate and Project Finance
    Tom is an entrepreneur by spirit and passioned about forestry and agroforestry. He holds a Masters Degree in Commercial and Financial Sciences, Post University Degree of the Belgian Association of Financial Analysts, 10 years senior international corporate leadership experience in Finance and Business Development.
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    Anju Rupal
    Advisor

    Anju is a serial, now social entrepreneur who believes that the purpose of business extend well beyond profits alone. Anju was one of the early  members of the WeForest team, she used this learning curve to later launch Abhati Suisse. Anju’s background as a sociologist and ethnologist were truly brought into play when she visited India and witnessed the devastating lack of sanitation and education. She mobilised some of the most renowned industry experts from beauty and design to work for free and contribute their skill sets to develop an all-natural skincare range, raising funds to ultimately make an impact in the lives of hundreds of girls in India.

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    Cathy Symington
    PhD
    Advisor

    Cathy is a passionate and compelling educator in environments, sustainability and biological sciences with 15+ years experience as a lecturer.  She is skilled in coaching and consulting in leadership, effectiveness and engagement with over 12 years in this discipline, as well as being accredited as a mediator for dispute resolution.

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    James Cooke
    Advisor

    From crashing Compuserve while broadcasting a Smashing Pumpkins concert live from Dublin in 1996, through to co-producing U2's online presence for almost a decade. With a passion for doing the right thing, James is a well seasoned internet veteran having worked with numerous platinum selling artists and premium magazine publishers along the way.

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    Chris Barton
    Advisor

    Chris is responsible for business development with mobile operators/carriers at Dropbox. He also serves on the board of Shazam Entertainment. Prior to Dropbox, Chris spent nearly eight years at Google focused on mobile with his last two years on the Android business development team. Chris was the original CEO and Founder of Shazam Entertainment, the London-based music recognition company.

     

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    Nick Wentz
    Advisor

    Nick currently works at SaneBox where he leads the growth and marketing team. Prior to SaneBox he was involved with various startups and non-profit organizations where he focused on user acquisition, content strategies and partnerships.

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    David Sands

    David Sands is Professor of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology at Montana State University, USA. He is a specialist in agricultural plant science, plant bacteriology, biological control of weeds and biotechnology. His work includes the ecology, detection, characterization and control of plant pathogens, Pseudomonas syringae and Xanthomonas campestris that have been linked to cloud formation and biological precipitation. Professor Sands has produced three new gluten crops and two low glycaemic crops for diabetics. He has received awards from the Lindbergh Foundation for his work producing biofuels and bio-lubricants, and from the Gates Foundation for his work in Kenya on the successful biocontrol of Witchweed, considered a major biological constraint to crop production in sub-Saharan Africa.

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    Iain Woodhouse

    Iain Woodhouse is Professor of Applied Earth Observation at The University of Edinburgh and founder of REDD Horizon, a capacity development programme in Malawi. His research focus is on measuring and mapping essential forest parameters from aircraft and satellite, so as to better understand and manage forest resources. He is a co-founder of Ecometrica, a land use and carbon accounting company, and Carbomap, a forest survey company specialising in multi-scale approaches involving radar, and LiDAR (from airborne and UAV platforms).

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    Leendert Adriaan Bruijnzeel

    Leendert Adriaan Bruijnzeel (also known as Sampurno) is an Emeritus Professor of Land Use and Hydrology of the VU University Amsterdam where he last led the Amsterdam Critical Zone Hydrology Group before becoming a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at King’s College London (UK) in September 2015. He has over 40 years of experience in hydrological research in the humid tropics of the Asian-Pacific, the Caribbean, and Central and South America and published over 235 scientific publications on hydrological processes as well as on the influence of land cover and land use change (especially deforestation and reforestation) on catchment water yield, soil erosion and sedimentation; his other research interests include nutrient cycling and productivity of natural and planted forests, and ecosystem services. His books include ‘Forests, Water and People in the Humid Tropics’ (2005) and ‘Tropical Montane Cloud Forests’ (2010). In 2005, he received the Busk Medal of the Royal Geographical Society (UK) for his contributions to field biosphere research in the humid tropics.

     

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    Robin Chazdon

    Robin Chazdon is the Director of an international and interdisciplinary research coordination network, PARTNERS (People and Reforestation in the Tropics), established to address the social and ecological drivers of reforestation in the tropics. She is the Executive Director of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, and a professor in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at the University of Connecticut, USA. More recently, she joined the International Institute of Sustainability (IIS) in Rio De Janeiro as a Senior Research Associate to work on forest restoration in Brazil. Professor Chazdon specializes in ecology and regeneration of tropical and temperate forests, conservation and restoration of tropical forests, tropical second-growth forests, biodiversity and conservation in agricultural landscapes. She is an author of over 130 peer-reviewed scientific articles and co-editor of two books. Her sole-authored book Second growth: The promise of tropical forest regeneration in an age of deforestation was published in 2014.

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    Cindy Morris

    Cindy Morris is Research Director and Head of the MISTRAL research team at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) in Avignon, a unit that focuses on plant pathogens that are dispersed in the atmosphere and water. She set-up Biological Ice Nucleators, an online forum and database on the role of microbes in atmospheric processes. Her research in bacterial ecology led her to study the link between landscape, airborne microorganisms and climate processes, and more specifically, the catalysing impact of these organisms in cloud formation and precipitation. Dr Morris has worked to build a network of physicists, microbiologists, meteorologists and agronomists for interdisciplinary collaboration.

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    Daniel Murdiyarso

    Daniel Murdiyarso is a Principal Scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and a Professor at the Department of Geophysics and Meteorology at Bogor Agricultural University (IPB) in Indonesia. He is a member of the Indonesian Academy of Sciences. In 2000 he served the Government of Indonesia as Deputy Minister of Environment for two years, during which he was also the National Focal Point of the UNFCCC and CBD. Dr Murdiyarso was the Lead Author of the IPCC Third Assessment Report and the IPCC Special Report on Land-use, Land-use Change and Forestry. His research relates to land-use change and biogeochemical cycles, climate change mitigation and adaptation. He has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and book chapters on these relevant topics.

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    Tom Eddington
    Ambassador

    Tom has spent the last three decades as a consultant, educator, entrepreneur, and strategic advisor. He is a student and teacher of Board, leadership and organization effectiveness.

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    Nina Neelson
    Ambassador

    Problem Solver in any transformational scenario, Nina is an Entrepreneur; Visionary; Idea Generator and Implementer.

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    Jan Willem de Groot
    Ambassador

    With over 22 years professional experience at multinational corporations Jan Willem has held various management positions on different continents, working  in financial services and in logistics. Multilingual with expertise in finance, strategy and business transformations. Master in Business Administration, Dutch Register Accountant (CPA) and Master in Business Economics. Passionate about trees and permaculture.

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    Serge de Gheldere
    Ambassador

    Serge de Gheldere is lead at Futureproofed (the carrot) and Klimaatzaak (the stick), and ‘climate ambassador’ for Al Gore. Serge trained as an engineer in Leuven (B) and in Delft (NL) and worked for Baxter Healthcare for 7 years - including 15 months in Chicago. Serge has given hundreds of lectures all over the world including - Stanford, Yale, Tsinghua Beijing, India, Dubai, Togo , Budapest - on the choices we face regarding climate change and the opportunity of a sustainable economy."

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    Sébastien Le Bescond

    Masters degree in General Management (ESCP, France).
    25 years of business experience as a Marketing and Sales manager mainly in French and International food companies. In 2013 Sébastien took his family for a 1 year trip around the world to meet its inhabitants and discover our beautiful planet. 

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    Yves Lemarchand

    Yves is managing director of Experience Scotland Ltd. and Honorary Belgian Consul in Scotland since 1996. He’s been supporting WeForest since its beginning with an original idea: celebrating the turn of the year with trees (2016= 2016 trees!) and talking about the need to act for climate within his large network.

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    Desmond Tutu

    We are grateful to Nobel Peace prize laureate Desmond Tutu for his support to WeForest and for writing the foreword to Bill Liao's book 'Forests'

    "The World’s Forests are a Shared Stolen Treasure that we must put back for Our Children’s Future". [Desmond Tutu]

     

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    Jeremy Irons

    Actor and activist, Jeremy Irons kindly lent his wonderful voice for one of WeForest's first videos.

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    Stephen Fry

    English comedian, writer, television personality and journalist, kindly offered his voice for one of our first WeForest videos

Contact us

WeForest asbl/vzw
Ogentroostlaan 15
3090 Overijse - Belgium
Office: +32 2 308 49 43
Cell: +32 474 07 07 62

For general enquiries, You can use the contact form (or get in touch via contact@weforest.org)
We can also answer in Spanish, French, German, Portuguese and Dutch.